Waste Not……..

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Although I didn’t have to grapple with the mortgage issue until late this afternoon, I’ll deal with it first to get it out of the way. The latest nonsense is that, after almost a month of procrastination and prevarication on behalf of the solicitors in the case, we learned two days ago that one of our documents must be signed in face to face contact with a solicitor acceptable to the lender. The firm that the building society originally approved is in Manchester. We were not prepared to travel up there for a ten minute encounter. Our independent adviser found one in Southampton who withdrew today on the grounds of sickness. Jackie and I will have to trail around tomorrow to find another prepared to witness our signatures.

Happily ignorant of this, we began the wet and rainy day taking the bags of garden refuse to the dump, then drove on to MacPenny’s garden centre in Bransgore, where I wandered around the garden while Jackie plundered the plant sales and waited for me in The Robin’s Nest cafe.

Plants for sale

Autumn has applied its rosy tints to many of the potted shrubs on offer.

Hosta

Being the only person daft enough to enter their garden on such a day, I had it to myself. This giant hosta gave me a gleaming greeting.

Shrubbery 1Shrubbery 2

Shrubbery 3

The dismal weather could not deter the shrubbery from doing its cheery best to brighten the day.

Cyclamen

Cyclamen,

Fuchsia

fuchsia,

Unidentified flower

and this flower I cannot identify, splashed colour around. Susan Rushton, in her comment below, has suggested this: ‘The mystery flower looks like hesperantha coccinea.’.

Hydrangea

Hydrangeas were a little more muted.

Mossy root

Almost fluorescent green moss coated tree roots;

Chrysanthemums and stepsChrysanthemums and grass

small ferns punctuated log steps beside which asters, or Michaelmas daisies, clustered; splendid Pampas grass perched on a terraced bank.

Steps 1

Other logged steps were deep in shade;

Dog's headstone

where William was laid to rest.

Autumn leaves 3

A few trees were in the process of shedding their leaves; some clinging stubbornly on;

Autumn leaves 1Autumn leaves 2Autumn leaves 6Autumn leaves 4Autumn leaves 5

others decorated damp sward.

Autumn leaves on path 2Autumn leaves on path 1Autumn leaves on path 3

Winding paths are already being carpeted.

Hosepipe

A loosely coiled hosepipe lay dormant.

Eventually the rain increased and drove me inside where we enjoyed good quality brunches before returning home.

Regular readers will know that it is rare for us to leave the recycling centre ( the dump), without making a purchase from the sales area. Today, Jackie bought a child’s multi story car park for the use of grandchildren and great nephews.

Apples and bag of bulbs

Someone had tossed apples along with branches into the green refuse container. They were rescued and brought home with bags of bulbs from MacPenny’s. As the saying goes, ‘waste not, want not’.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s exquisite beef and mushroom pie; tasty gravy; new potatoes; and crisp carrots and cabbage; followed, of course, by stewed apples and vanilla ice-cream. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

Streets Of London With Diversions

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Rain on French windows 1Rain on French windows 2

Torrential rain and gale-force winds were again the order of the day. Soon after noon, the French windows onto the patio

Rain on kitchen window

and the view from the kitchen were like this.

Naturally I took a trip back to my photographic archives from October 2004. The colour slides were primarily the next batch of the Streets of London series.

Culworth Street NW8 10.04

The 2011 census informs us that there are 175 purpose built flats in Culworth Street NW8 which runs into Prince Albert Road and is therefore a stone’s throw from Regent’s Park. A fair number of them must be in this block.

Lodge Road NW8 10.04

Lodge Road NW8 lies parallel to St John’s Wood Road which houses Lord’s Cricket ground, the world famous test venue and headquarters of Middlesex County Cricket Club. Across the Lord’s roundabout, stands St John’s Wood Church, of which Wikipedia tells us

‘St John’s Wood Church started life as a chapel of ease to St Marylebone Parish Church, and was constructed in 1814 by Thomas Hardwick, who was simultaneously constructing the current St Marylebone Church.[2] Although the church originally had extensive burial grounds, these were closed in 1855 and opened as a public garden, St. John’s Wood Church Grounds, in 1886.[3] In 1898 the building became a chapel of ease to Christ Church on Cosway Street, and increasingly became the centre of administration for the parish.[4]

After bomb damage during the Second World War rendered St Stephen’s, Avenue Road unusable, St John’s Wood Church became a parish church in its own right in 1952.[5] As well as holding regular services for the community, the church has hosted the wedding of Peggy Cripps to Joe Appiah in June 1953,[6] the blessing of the marriage of Paul and Linda McCartney in 1969,[7] and the funeral of Ursula Vaughan Williams in 2007.[8]

A Church Hall complex was constructed in the 1970s, the completion of which was marked with the erection of a statue of the church’s patron, John the Baptist, by Hans Feibusch.[9] Restoration of the church interior took place in 1991 under the supervision of Michael Reardon, when the chancel pavement was relaid in limestone and the present central altar replaced the high altar at the east end of the church.

Ivor Place NW8 10.04

Canon Reverend Francis Holland, an Anglican clergyman, who was keen to advance and extend the provision of single-sex education for girls established his eponymous Trust in 1881. The Francis Holland school in Ivor Place NW1 is one of two managed by the trust. Ivor Place runs from Park Road to

Boston Place NW1 10.04

Boston Place NW1, lying alongside the platforms of Marylebone Station.

Greenland Road NW1 10.04

From St John’s Wood and Marylebone I walked on to Camden Town through Greenland Road

Georgiana Street NW1 10.04

and Georgiana Street NW1.

Rembrandt Gardens 10.04 1

These family groups were, on this day, the first of my diversions from the theme of including street names in the images. The bench offers a view of the Little Venice canal basin, on the other side of which stand the erstwhile Council blocks of Warwick Crescent which were largely sold off to tenants in the ’80s and ’90s, and on further to others during the next decades.

Woman and child on bench 10.04 1Woman and child on bench 10.04 2

Narrow boats travelling along the canal surface at a maximum speed of four miles an hour glide past the park. I forget the name of the man who lovingly tended these gardens for 25 years. Upon his retirement he was replaced by sessional, irregular, maintenance staff seconded from other Council gardens.

Rainbow over Paddington Basin 10.04 1Rainbow over Paddington basin 10.04 2

The other diversion that attracted my camera lens was a double rainbow over the Paddington Basin development. The wrapping on the buildings in progress reflected the colours of the meteorological phenomenon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sumptuous sausage casserole, crunchy carrots, crisp cauliflower, and boiled potatoes. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

 

A Murmuration

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An underground problem with installation of the new phone line required further attention today. This necessitated a visit from another engineer who completed the task.

Jackie then drove us around the forest in a very wet late afternoon.

Much rain has fallen during our weekend away. Familiar pools have returned to the forest floor.

The moorland in the rain took on a dramatic aspect as the clouds unloaded their precipitation.

Between Brockenhurst and Beaulieu, the River Lymington has burst its banks.

Sunset is early at this time of the year;

Sunset over Hatchet Pond

it is a reflection of the different light today that this is the same clump of trees beside Hatchet Pond that I photographed at virtually the same time from a slightly different angle yesterday.

A murmuration of starlings

As we waited at the level crossing on the approach to Lymington, an elliptical disc that was a murmuration of starlings slid around the skies.

This evening we dined on roast lamb with roast potatoes and crunchy carrots and cauliflower. I drank Clervigny Arbois, 2014

 

 

Happy Christmas, Mum

A wood pigeon’s plaintive mating call filled the air this mild morning. When, at mid-morning, he ceased his mournful cry, it seemed to be more to do with the steady downpour of rain that set in for the day, than to do with his luck having changed.

Jackie and I made a start on Christmas cards, and, Ferndene Farm Shop having sold out,  bought a tree at Redcliffe Nurseries.

Jackie, Ron, Helen, Bill and ShellyBill, Helen. Shelly, Jackie, Derrick

This afternoon we joined Shelly and Helen and their husbands Ron and Bill, for the annual laying of a wreath on the sisters’ mother’s plot in the Woodland Burial Ground at Walkford. Rain poured down all the time. We had a few words, then wished Mum a Happy Christmas and repaired to Shelly and Ron’s nearby home where we enjoyed sandwiches, pork pie, canapés, cakes, mince pies, mulled wine, red and white wine, and coffee. We reminisced into the evening. I was still wet through when we returned home at about 7.30.

There was a general agreement that Mum Rivett would have questioned our sanity in weathering such elements.

A New Granddaughter

Yesterday evening Tess gave birth to an, as yet, unnamed baby girl. All is well, and she is a second shared grandchild for Jackie and me. Ever the cryptic wit, Mat, when giving Becky the news, said ‘Mum’s got 2, Dad’s got 7’. He left her to provide the solution: ‘a girl’. My other two grandchildren are a young man and a boy.

There are two reasons that we cannot visit them immediately, one quite bizarre.  The first is that I am probably now the only reasonably germ-free member of the party.

Five days ago, at the Shoreham Air Show, a plane failed to come out of a downward loop, and, exploding, crashed onto the busy A27 road which is our route into East Sussex. Continuous torrential rain has hampered the clearance of the wreckage and discovery of charred bodies of cyclists and motorists. The route therefore remains closed.

The first of the following pictures was my view through the patio window at around 11.30 this morning; the other three Becky shot of her car being directly pounded by the rain and sprayed with gutter-silt by passing vehicles.

View through patio window

Rain on car roofRain thrown up by truckRain thrown up by blue car

The accident itself was unusual enough, but the extent of the rain, shown by these photographs show just what is hampering investigators, and sending holidaymakers home in droves this week. At Mr Pink’s yesterday evening, a family incongruously clad in summer clothes, were buying fish and chips for sustenance on their way back home to Stockport, 250 miles away. They had given up.

The perversity of our weather was demonstrated three hours later, when the skies cleared, and the sun emerged.

Butterfly Small White on bidens

Small White butterflies frolicked among the bidens.

Ginger lily

In the ten days I have remained indoors the ginger lilies have bloomed,

Raindrops on apples

and the well-watered apples are ripening.

Pasta bake 1JPG

This evening, Becky produced a delicious deep 15″ ham and vegetable pasta bake for our dinner.

Pasta bake 2

Four filled dinner plates,

Pasta bake 3

didn’t make much of a hole in it.

Ian drank San Miguel; Jackie, Hoegaarden; and Becky and I, Teroldego Rotaliano riserva 2011.

Becky’s Book

Sunrise

The sun, peering across shrubbery on our lawn through the trunks of naked trees, rose into a clear pale slate-blue sky, ready to dry the dew this morning.

Becky's book frontispiece

Sometime in 1973 I began to make a book for Becky, then my youngest daughter. It was planned for her fourth birthday the following year. I used water-colour pencils on a pad of thick cartridge paper, leaving the spiralled spine in place and binding the boards with a William Morris furnishing fabric, sealed by a press-stud on a flap. Taking a wee bit longer than anticipated, this labour of love was not finished until my little girl’s seventh birthday by which time she could read it for herself.

Here it is:

Becky's book 1Becky's book 2Becky's book 3Becky's book 4Becky's book 5Becky's book 6Becky's book 7Becky's book 8Becky's book 9Becky's book 10Becky's book 11Becky's book 12Becky's book 13Becky's book 14Becky's book 15Becky's book 16Becky's book 17Becky's book 18Becky's book 19Becky's book 20Becky's book 21Becky's book 22Becky's book 23Becky's book 24

Tonight’s dinner consisted of perfect slow baked gammon, crisp carrots and cauliflower, a tangy melange of tomatoes, peppers and onions, and mashed potato and swede with a cheese sauce, followed by lemon and lime jelly. I drank more of Lidl’s Bordeaux.

Technical Frustrations

Last night the internet reception was hit and miss, which is one reason why my post was shorter than usual (I’ve just lost it again). I was also knackered, but mostly I wanted Orlaith’s photograph to stand alone.

Waterlogged fieldWaterlogged roadThis morning, taking advantage of what I thought was a lull in a night of rain, I walked the La Briaude loop. I hadn’t got very far on the straight stretch towards the hamlet when I was soaked to the skin, even through my raincoat. The chainsaw that was ripping into the back of my head was hail. The wind was the fiercest I have experienced. The rain was blinding and the hail piercing. The photographs of the rainswept field and the lake that was the road, were taken with eyes closed, by pointing, shooting, and hoping for the best.

Had the tumult not been coming from behind me, I would have turned back, but I could not have faced the driving rain and the painful hailstones.

As I struggled, head down, along the Eymet Road the wind roared through my ears and the violent precipitations spattered on my raincoat. Had I been offered a lift I would have taken it. Normally when a kindly driver stops for me I say I am walking for pleasure. I wasn’t about to give anyone a story to tell about the mad Englishman.

When I reached the corner indicating the last kilometre back to Sigoules, the downpour ceased, but the wind did not.After the rain A thin sliver of blue sky beyond the saturated vines appeared beneath the flat, leaden, cloud layer.

Upon my arrival, I peeled off and attempted to dry all my wet clothes. Changing apparel involved taking the trouser challenge. I have been aware that recent pressure on my waistbands has suggested that my older garments retained in rue St Jacques may no longer quite accommodate me. They didn’t, so I failed the test and was compelled to pull my wet pants back on.

Mo and John came over to Sigoules bringing my obsolete iMac and the bulk of my DVD collection so I can watch them on a bigger screen; and to treat me to lunch at Le Code Bar.

Max provided the usual excellent fare. An intriguing and delicious soup containing noodles, lentils and potatoes was followed by quiche for Mo and belly of veal in a piquant sauce for John and me. John opted for steak whilst Mo and I chose sausages for the main meal accompanied by the customary mountain of chips. We all selected creme brulee for dessert, and shared a carafe of red wine.

We enjoyed each other’s convivial company and went on, following Max’s recommendation, to L’Ancienne Cure, Christian Roche’s wine outlet at Colombier where we engaged in pleasant conversation with the proprietor who had been a friend of Max since they were boys. They had played rugby together and I wouldn’t have liked to have met either of them on the field. They each possess a grip of iron. After ample tasting, John made a purchase, and Mo drove us back to Sigoules.

In eager anticipation, I plugged in the iMac. Unfortunately, I hadn’t thought to bring either a mouse or a keyboard, so I couldn’t use it.

My technical frustration was to continue. Either my laptop or my card reader is playing up. I had the devil’s own job to download the three photographs I had taken in the morning and was completely unable to transfer the heart-warming shot of the open fire in the winery fuelled by spent vine stems.L'Ancienne Cure fire I may have to wait until I return to England next week to illustrate the rest of the next few days’ posts.

P.S. Back home with iMac